Why do the Habs suck?

With a summer to lament their last place finish in the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens have now become the laughing stock of the NHL. A team once feared by every opponent, now teams start their back-up goalie when playing the Montreal Canadiens to rest their starter for a better team. How did this happen? How did a once storied franchise become a bottom feeder in the NHL?

Let’s go back to the 1970’s when Sam Pollock was GM of the Habs. Upon his retirement, instead of passing the reins to Scotty Bowman, the club promoted Irving Grundman. Yes, the same Irving Grundman convicted of taking bribes years later after his hockey career as a Montreal city councillor. Grundman pleaded guilty to municipal corruption in September 2004 and was later sentenced to 23 months of community service and fined $50,000.00. Can you imagine, if Scotty Bowman was GM of the Habs throughout the 80’s and 90’s? Look at how many championships his teams won after the Hab’s (Pittsburgh and Detroit)?

Another problem, seems to be evident with the Habs is their scouting passing up the local Quebec league superstars in the draft. From Claude Giroux to Kris Letang to David Perron to Martin Brodeur to Luc Robitaille to Denis Savard to Michel Bossy, Habs brass passed up all of these players mentioned in the draft. The Habs currently only have one scout who is from Quebec namely  Serge Boisvert (who covers both Quebec and Eastern Canada) out of their 13 scouts. How can they ever recruit home grown talent if they only have one scout following Quebec prospects? Look around at the NHL as well and you notice alot of players who were once draft picks, veterans and prospects of the Montreal Canadiens now providing leadership roles in other organizations. Why do the Hab’s keep getting rid of such players without developing them properly?

Looking at the current Montreal Canadiens you notice a disparity in the contract salaries for their the best players (like David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty) who are at the lowest rung of the wage ladder while under-performing players such as Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Andrei Markov and company seem to be at the top? Who would sign such players to high salaries? Who would trade for such players while giving up the future of the team such as Ryan McDonough was traded for Gomez?

With Marc Bergevin as the GM of the Montreal Canadiens, coaching changes have been made, additional management brought in, but no changes have been made to scouting (as the same personnel have been retained from the Bob Gainey/Pierre Gauthier years). Trevor Timmins and all of his scouts still have their jobs. No deals have been made for players. In addition to that, Martin Lapointe and Patrice Brisebois (notoriously over-rated when they were hockey players) have been brought into the organization (friends of Marc Bergevin).

This continuous cycle of the buddy system, has brought the once glorious Montreal Canadiens to it’s knees. How can it ever win unless the best people are hired for the jobs within the organization? From Nortel to Research in Motion, the end results are always obvious within any Canadian Organization and that result is losing.


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